Troll hunting initiatives

A Norwegian news site has been experimenting with its comments section; the Perspective initiative is hoping to use machine learning to identify online harassment.

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NRKbeta, part of public broadcaster NRK, wants to improve the quality of debate on its site. People who wish to post a comment must first pass a multiple-choice quiz to prove they have read the article.

The hope is that this will lead to more informed debate by stopping at least some people from commenting without thought and reflection and straying off topic.

Meanwhile, Jigsaw, a subsidiary of Alphabet (Google) is running a project called Perspective which aims to use machine learning to spot online harassment.  The project has partnered with The New York Times to run tests on the system. However, the system still has some way to go.  It might not recognise that some comments are benign (“You are NOT stupid and wrong” ranks almost as ‘negatively’ as “You are stupid and wrong”).  And researchers at the University of Washington found they could easily trick the system by deliberately mis-spelling some words.

Sources: The Local, Norway; Endgadget.